My two teenage daughters (ages fourteen and three weeks shy of sixteen) and I, like most mothers and daughters, share much within the daily familial spectrum.
For us, beyond the obvious role of parent/child, due to an openness and a conscious desire to see each other full-on in all of our giddy, emotional glory, our relationship is so much more than one role.
It truly is Soul to Soul, and surprisingly, Facebook, YES FACEBOOK, a medium that I resisted during its initial phases, has created the historically rare opportunity for my daughters to see their mother joyfully self-express, be herself, interact with numerous others, muse via different types of writing, and generally SHINE unapologetically to the world at large.
I discussed this recent epiphany with my oldest daughter just this week as it dawned on me that I never knew my mom as much more than my mom while I was growing up.
Sure, she had a tremendous influence on me as the beautiful woman that she is and continues to be today, and fortunately, now we have come to know each other's insides better, but I have never really seen her up close and personal with the world offering her insights, life lessons and individual truths as a way of life.
I know I would have appreciated her in a broader sense at a much younger age had there been more opportunities for her to self-express, share and flourish. I would have loved to see and feel more of her soul.
Not that this is the only way to go in a parent/child simpatico as that relationship is such a unique and intimate one for each of us, but it struck me strongly as a deep feeling of gratitude that my two daughters (my son is almost twelve, not yet on Facebook and definitely would not find me as amusing as my girls:) are seeing a sermon in action rather than hearing one.
It made me smile to think that after many years of "hiding my light under a bushel," today, as I uncage my spirit publicly, my very own dear, dear daughters have front row seats.
Even though they tease me about commenting too much and being a thumbs up fanatic, I can see it in their eyes that I am giving them permission to be themselves and to live true.
My work as a soul nurturer and writer is totally intertwined with my own personal growth journey, and in many ways, if not for Facebook, would remain largely hidden from them as something seen firsthand rather than just discussed at the dinner table.
They are not present at my talks or Soul to Soul Circles or private sessions, but due to Facebook, they see ME (okay, yes daily, and sometimes too much) beyond the typical mom role.
While I love my mom role, the expansive view of a parent from different vantage points can be highly beneficial to children, especially as they reach adolescence. The enlarged aerial view acts as a powerful mirror for them to see their potential as a multi-faceted human being reflected back to them.
My grandest desire for all three of my children is that they enJOY being a human being and appreciate the sacredness of all aspects of the journey.
Whether it be navigating their own emotional landscape in a conscious, fearless way, pursuing a career that matches their unique interior longings, or creating transparent, loving relationships, I desire them to live from their SOUL.
We can't teach another how to do that through mere words. We must become capable of living it ourselves.
And as comfortability in their own skin both privately and publicly has always been the highest priority in my parenting efforts, there has been a knowing deep within me, that we would simultaneously do it together.
While it hasn't been easy understanding and healing (many, not all, yet) of my own core fears and wounds, I have decided with joy and certainty that I AM WILLING TO GO FIRST!
The liberation to be fully ME is my greatest accomplishment as both an individual and a parent.
The self-love that begins to flourish on this most delicious path of deeper self-awareness has many ripple effects. Within a family, it is truly priceless beyond measure.
With every step that we take as parents to free ourselves from the bondage of living behind masks, we simultaneously invite our most beloved children, as well as all of those with whom we come into contact, to do the same.
Wholeness cannot be underestimated as a path to both personal and worldwide peace.
So, today, I feel grateful to Facebook for unknowingly and unexpectedly giving me a vehicle not only to share my Annieness with friends far and wide, but most important of all, with my beautiful teenage daughters who are observing me carefully to understand what it means to be a consciously spirit-embodied human being.
I hope that my willingness to "Come Out" as both the silly AND deep soul nurturer—the lover of paradox that I am—paves the way for my children to come out as simply themselves, too.
I wish I had known back then that my mom loved dolphin dives as a means of connecting to her spirit. Perhaps I would have joined her...